Skills To Help Navigate The Bariatric Rollercoaster
“The Bariatric Rollercoaster”? You are wondering what is this or maybe you already realize what it is. The Bariatric Rollercoaster is all that stress and emotions that come with having weight loss surgery. Whether it be stress because you are pre-op trying to get things accomplished. Whether you just recently had the surgery and are stalled. Or you are years out and are dealing with regain or some other stressful situation that may be trying to push you back to old habits. Or you are dealing with a transfer addiction that seems to be trying to control you and you are struggling to overcome it. There are ways to help combat this though.
Using mental skills to cope with stress and emotions.
Stress isn’t going away.
It’s a part of being human. We can’t change many stressors (such as weather, or random life events).
But we can change how we deal with it.
And we can change how much stress we create for ourselves (for instance, with taking on more and more work, or not getting enough sleep).
With these mental skills, you will be able to:
– lower your overall stress and help keep emotions in check
– Help with making better, more thoughtful choices
– Enable you to stay “in the game”, moving forward
Like any type of skills, these can be learned, practiced, and improved upon.
You can practice these skills to build your skills to handle stress more effectively.
So what are these 10 mental skills that I am speaking about? There may be others as well that are not listed but these have been the most effective in not only helping myself, but my clients as well. Not all of them will work for everyone and sometimes some are harder to learn than others. Remember: IT TAKES PRACTICE!
3) Setting goals
4) Following the “inner compass”
6) Reframing and rewriting stories and scripts
7) Confronting anxieties, fears, or worries
8) Recognizing and changing limiting factors
10) Discomfort tolerance
This is when you decide On a course of action and then staying true to it. As well as ignoring distractions. Example of this is sticking to a single eating plan rather than jumping from diet fad to diet fad or doing one habit at a time.
This is when you fall off the wagon and you get back on track. For example you schedule a session with the coach or whoever is working with you immediately after the holidays. And you have a plan to get back into a normal routine after a disruption.
Third, setting goals.
This is when you have a clear idea where you want to go and you are just as needed when things change. Ask yourself where do I want to be at the end of four weeks? And why is it important? Or what specifically will I work on this week?
Fourth, following your “inner compass”.
This is when you know and are living your core values and priorities. You say things like I value my family and being there for my children so I want to get healthy and to be a role model for my kids. Or I value confronting life‘s challenges. So I’m going to push my limits a bit, on purpose, as a part of growth.
Fifth, self awareness.
This is when you notice and name thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and how all these things are related. This can be asking how might my emotions affect my eating behavior? Or how does my 7 AM breakfast affect my 9 AM workout?
Sixth, reframing and re-writing stories and scripts.
This is when you notice when we are writing scripts and stories for ourselves to explain the facts of our lives. Then, consciously reframing and re-writing the endings. Example of reframing is “I hate cooking” to “I prefer simple food preparation strategies”. Another example is reframing is “I fail every diet” to “I have fallen down a lot but always picked myself back up and tried something else”.
Seventh, confronting anxieties, fears, or worries.
This is when you deal directly with anxiety, fear and worry rather than avoiding them or trying to make them go away. Allowing “failure“ to be an option, so that it becomes less of a threat. This is when you speak openly to who you’re working with or even to a friend or family member about what you are worrying about. Then you focus on what can be learned from setbacks so that “failure“ is not paralyzing.
Eighth, recognizing and changing limiting factors.
This is when you identify the things that hold you back or block you from moving forward, then either removing them or working around them. You think about what is working and how to do more of it or how to remove or workaround box. Sample of limiting factors can include stressful job or not having cooking skills.
This is when you’re aware of and manage emotions and impulses. Things like you notice when you were eating impulsively or emotionally. And having techniques to help yourself pause and chose more thoughtfully.
Tenth, Discomfort tolerance.
This is when you “sit with” uncomfortable sensations or thoughts, without rushing to respond. Instead of over eating or making poor food choices, you “sit with” these urges instead. Or you learn a new habit.
So these are just 10 mental skills to help you cope with stress better. Learn, practice, and improve on them. This is key to making them successful.